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540 horizontal lines possible in Sony Handycam DCR-HC96???

by Woodeen / April 10, 2006 8:34 PM PDT

I wanna buy a camcorder but still not decide which one: DVD or MiniDV
I see on CNET website advertising that Sony Handycam DCR-HC96 is an excellent camcorder that can record up to 540 lines horizontally. So I confuse as it's a standard definition (SD) camcorder and as some expert on this forum stated that for SD video recording, the maximum resolution is just 720 x 480. Can anyone who has expertised knowledge in this field help me.
Product details:
can it record onto a stick duo card? If yes, is it the same rersolution as it records on MiniDV (of course same setting up). Any one who has used it, pls kindly offer your advices/ comments on this camcorder.
Thanks and best regards
Hoang Cong Thanh

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Just a note.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 10, 2006 11:30 PM PDT
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Must be better than normal NTSC DVD camcorder (720 x480)???
by Woodeen / April 12, 2006 12:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Just a note.

Hi Bob, I notice your notes that with standard TV, let's say not more than 480 horizontal lines can be scanned no matter how many horizontal lines the video may have ( as standard TV has "resolution" of 640x480, Am I right). So what happen with DVD PAL which has 720 x 576? And applied in this case HC96 can capture up to 530 horisontal lines - of course when displayed on standard definition TV, at least the image must be better than normal NTSC DVD camcorder (720x480). Pls advise. Anyone who has experienced HC96, pls post your comments also.
How about HC96 compared with a PAL DVD camcorder (720x576) like DCR-DVD805E ????
Thanks a lot
H.C. Thanh

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What I do to play PAL is to do so on my PC.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 12, 2006 1:31 AM PDT

It doesn't have that limitation.


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540 horizontal lines possible in Sony Handycam
by jcrobso / April 12, 2006 2:07 AM PDT

What do you want to do with the camera????
Just play into TV or edit video?????
DVD cameras have many problems, the video is compresed a lot to get it on the miniDVD.
The MiniDV picture quality is much, much better than the DVD cameras!!!!!!!!! The raw capture of MinDV is much higher the EDTV it can get close to 720p depending on which camera you get.
MinDv can easly be imported into a PC with Firewire connection. John

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Can I ask?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 12, 2006 2:33 AM PDT

I appreciate your posts here and thank you for your contributions. Great work.

When I was in CCTV camera design we tinkered with more scan lines but what we knew was that we could only go so far outside the NTSC spec but also most displays or TVs would not show past some line.

It was still useful to allow such since you never knew if they has a PC/other capture and display method.

The best use we had for those too many scan lines was to put more data in that region.

On your standard definition, do you see those extra scan lines?


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No you don't
by jcrobso / April 12, 2006 7:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Can I ask?

Sometimes it difficult when we talk about" horzontial lines of resoultion". This is an analog measurement of picture quality and not the numder of lines taht are scaned. Which dosen't allwise correspond to the pixels used for digital video. Sometimes they get intermixed SD Vrs ED they are not the same.
On PC you can see the difference, If you can hook your PC to a HDTV ( I can) you will see the difference.
Scan lines for NTSC is 525.5i with about 480 that have picture detail and are visible.
Many are confused by the 480i scan lines for NTSC analog Video( now called SD ) and the 480p Pixel rating the is used for ED ditital video thay are not one in the same. Sort of Apples and Oranges.
MiniDV is digital and records in 640x480 pixels.
I sure that you understand this but many don't.
This tends to be a grey area that can get confusing if the different terms are not understood. John

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Much like our old Hi8 camcorders I bet.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 12, 2006 8:02 AM PDT
In reply to: No you don't



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horizontal lines in TV and DCR-HC96 explanation
by Hanover Fist / April 12, 2006 5:35 AM PDT

First of all let me say that vertical resolution is as you go from the top of the screen to the bottom and those lines go in the horizontal direction. Horizontal resolution refers to the lines you count as you go from left to right and those travel in the vertical direction.(i know it's confusing)
TVs have 480, 720, or 1080 lines. Now that is vertical resolution not horizontal resolution. A full screen TV with 480 lines means it has 480 lines scanned vertically and each line has 640 dots therefore you get 640(horizontal)x480(vertical). 720 TVs are usually widescreen and they have a vertical resolution of 720 lines and 1280 horizontaly so its written as 1280x720. 1080 TVs are also widescreen and they have vertical resolution of 1080 lines and 1920 horizontaly so it's written as 1920x1080.
The 720x480 that you mention is the standart to make DVDs. That has vertical resolution of 480 lines with 720 horizontaly. As you can see that is almost the same as the 640x480. Both are SD(standart definiton), only difference is that 720x480 will apear as widescreen.
Now moving on to the Sony DCR-HC96. The camcorder can record up to 530 horizontal lines, meaning it can put up to 530 dots on every line of the vertical resolution. The 530 then is horzontal resolution and not vertical. The 530 then is comparable to the 640 not to the 480. Even though it might seem a lot less than 640 remember that VHS tapes can only do about 250 so 530 is very good digital quality.
Another thing, contrary to what jcrobso said in his response you will NEVER EVER get 720p(verical resolution) from a MiniDV camcorder no matter how you transfer it.

I know this topic is complicated but i tried to keep it as short as I could.

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(NT) (NT) I think you nailed it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 12, 2006 6:22 AM PDT
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one small clarification
by Hanover Fist / April 12, 2006 6:22 AM PDT

When I said you will NEVER EVER get 720p(verical resolution) from a MiniDV camcorder no matter how you transfer it, I mean you won't get it with MiniDV camcorders like sony DCR-H96 or other standard deffinition camcorders.

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Lets talk terms
by jcrobso / April 12, 2006 7:59 AM PDT

Fisrt off SD is analog video 525.5 horzontal scan lines 480 visible! This is EGA graphics ( Commodor 64) and is rated at 320x240 pixels! YES!!!
Since it is analog the picture quality will vary depending on the source. VHS or Broadcast.

ED is a DIGITAL format, 640x480 . MiniDV is ED 640x480!
Any time you take the analog output of a digital camera to a analog TV the camera will down conver the ED video to NTSC or SD ( or PAL) video.
DVDs are ED video, if you view them via the s-video/ composit output of the DVD player you will get SD video, very good SD, but still analog.

In digital the quality is determined by bandwidth.
DVDs have about a 11mb/sec max. MiniDV is 25bm/sec.
HD (720p) is at 40mb/sec.
Analog horzontal scan lines and Pixel horzontial rows are not one in the same, Apples and Oranges.

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720x480 is the NTSC system DVD standard - not wide screen!
by Woodeen / April 12, 2006 2:09 PM PDT

I agree with you that TV's have either 480, 720 or 1080 (i/p) lines scanned depending on which kind of video presented. But review again your writing, I think it might be confused:
1- "720 TVs are usually widescreen and they have a vertical resolution of 720 lines and 1280 horizontaly so its written as 1280x720. 1080 TVs are also widescreen and they have vertical resolution of 1080 lines and 1920 horizontaly so it's written as 1920x1080."
It should be: vertically by pixels (not by lines) and horizontally by lines respectively.
And onother:
2- "only difference is that 720x480 will apear as widescreen."
I think you are confused! 720x480 is the NTSC system DVD standard (whereas PAL DVD is 720x576), not wide screen at all.
But we have been too far from my original question:
I want to know that if i buy a HC96 (3.3MP)which can scan up to 530 lines horizontally (and this setting is applied for recording), and plug it to a normal TV (Standard Def. TV), CAN I GET BETTER QUALITY THAN A DCR-DVD805E (PAL DVD camcorder, 3.3 MP)

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720x480 is the NTSC system DVD standard
by jcrobso / April 13, 2006 3:39 AM PDT

The Term "lines of horzontial resoultion" is a term that ONLY applies to analog video! It is used to indacate how much pitcure information can be placed on each horzonital scan line in analog video.
VHS VCR could resolive 250 lines of horzonital rsoultion.
S-VHS and Hi8 could resolive about 480 lines of horzonital resoultion.
Since it is a term that many people are used to it is still used for cameras. Studio 3 chip cameras have resoultions of 700 lines or more. As log as we stay in analog things are fine, it's when we try to go to digital that it gets messy.
You are correct in digital it should be reffered to as rows of pixels so 720p is 1280 virtical rows X 720 horzonital rows,,, NOT lines!!!! Lines are for analog!!!
SD video has 480i visible lines, not Rows or pixels.
This is 320x240 pixels in computer terms.
If you by an analog PC capture card and use capture software to capture the analog NTSC video from your Hi8mm camera the default setting is 320x240 about 240 lines. If you use that setting the video will not look very good.
Now change the capture setting to 640x480 and you will capture all of the 480 lines of the Hi8mm.
DVD mpg2 is higher than that and MiniDV is still higher that DVD.
If you want the best quality then get a MiniDV anf forget about DVD cameras they have to many compromises on video quality.
Below is good link with lots of info. John

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Uh, I may have confused between lines and rows
by Woodeen / April 13, 2006 9:14 PM PDT

Hi John,
Uh, I may have confused between lines and rows. Thanks very much for your kind reply. OK I will select the MiniDV camcorder (most probably Sony DCR-HC96). Cheers
H.C. Thanh

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Memory Stick recording
by boxfilm / April 14, 2006 12:35 PM PDT

Unfortunately, the memory stick recording is a regular MPEG only running at a 320x240 resolution. This is, however, good for email.

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Yes 530 is possible, since it records on a DV tape.
by DiscoDave26 / June 14, 2006 10:09 PM PDT

I have used the DCR-HC90 from Singapore for about 3 months now and am quite happy i bought it. It has excellent colour and detail and contrast. Best of all it has a 16:9 format. But the only problem i had was that the camera has a problem with the autofocus. The camera struggles a lot even during normal shooting conditions. And also the videos seem a little brighter than they usually are. But this apart , the camra is excellent. Just check the focusing capability on the 96 version before going in for it. U will have a big smile every time u show off ur home videos to ur family and friends who will be constantly gaping at the detail and clarity of the video. best of luck u guys. The camera rocks. 9 out of 10.

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